God Wants You to Work

Group of Workers

God wants you to work. If you don’t have some kind of work to do in life, something is wrong.

If you’ve been successful in life, you undoubtedly understand the value of hard work. Unfortunately, there are people out there who never learned the lesson of working hard, and they rely on others to provide for their needs. But that’s not the way that God intended for them to live.

Work is one of the principle things that we’re called to do in life. All work is God’s work, because every kind of work you can do will help somebody else, even if it’s in a small way. Today’s lesson is on a similar theme — we are all called to work, because the Kingdom of God and society as a whole benefit the most when everyone contributes something.

The basis for this lesson comes from a passage in II Thes. 3:6-13, where Paul addresses the problem of idleness in the church. This passage is a bit lengthy, but it’s worth reading from top to bottom:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

Several things are worth note here. First of all, notice the great lengths that Paul and his helpers went to in order to set an example for the church at Thessaloniki. Although they had rights, as ministers of the gospel, to receive financial support for their full-time ministry, they ignored that right and “worked day and night” to provide for themselves. They did this in order to demonstrate the way that God wants His people  to live — working, contributing to society and supporting themselves with their own money.

Secondly, notice the standard that Paul set for the church: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” This is no soft-hearted, spineless version of Christianity. Rather, it’s a high standard to go along with the high calling on our lives. Simply put, there is no excuse for believers to be lazy. God expects us to work and contribute to society. If we’re not willing to do that, we don’t deserve to share in the fruit of other people’s work.

Finally, notice that the the lack of work leads to bad habits. Paul mentions that “some among you are idle and disruptive.” The old saying tells us that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” and Paul is basically saying the same thing: If you don’t have something to do in life, you’re going to end up filling  your time with in destructive ways. Idleness leads to disruption, and there’s no room in the body of Christ for anyone to be a busybody.

Now, we know that there are all kinds of circumstances in today’s life that affect the kind of work that we do.  The goal of this article isn’t to condemn anyone who doesn’t have a full-time job. But the underlying principle is true: God wants you to work at something. Finding a meaningful way to contribute to society — whether you get paid for it or not — is a key part of serving God during our time on earth.


Photo by Sinn Fein. Used under Creative Commons License.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate
    your efforts and I will be waiting for your next post thanks once again.

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  1. […] of this verse comes as no surprise — the Bible is full of encouragement about diligence and hard work. It’s the second half that delivers a more surprising insight: If we spend our lives pursuing […]

  2. […] God Wants You to Work — This post examines what Paul writes about the importance of working hard in II Thes. 3:6-13. […]

  3. […] God Wants You to Work — This post examines what Paul writes about the importance of working hard in II Thes. 3:6-13. […]

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